I was driving home after a long day. I was newly married and my city girl upbringing was being challenged in an old farm house out in the country. I had a new job that felt unbearable. My mind was racing with all the things - at work, at church, and inside the walls of my little house. It was a heavy load to bear. I felt stuck and exhausted.
Something was different that day. I could feel it, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Then I saw them - the dainty little leaves dancing softly on the roadway. The sun was casting shadows of the tree branches as they arched over my head while I passed under them.
I looked up and saw the vibrant greens and my heart sank. Spring had come and gone and I had not even noticed. It hit me hard as the reality began to settle in. I had been so busy and absorbed with trying to manage my life that I had not even realized the seasons had changed. The beauties of spring that I had always taken time to enjoy had already passed me by.
"Spring had come and gone, and I had not even noticed."
That was the year that the unhealthy patterns in my life were starting to catch up with me, but I wouldn’t realize this for a very long time. I didn’t mind being busy. It was a way of life. Doing all the things was just the way it was supposed to be, so I thought.
It had always been hard to say no to anything that I was asked to do. If it was a good thing – something that would serve others, I thought that meant God had brought it my way. At the time I felt that saying no would cause others to be disappointed in me. I put even more pressure on myself with the concern that if I said no, I was letting God down. And I didn’t want to do that!
This lifestyle became the norm for me. I was doing things I felt called to do, things that I loved. But I was also doing things that weren’t ever meant for me in the first place. This kind of “doing” would keep me stuck in my own kind of inner turmoil and eventually would wear me down. I was hiding my exhaustion - even from myself.
You see, I looked good from the outside. I was responsible and dependable. I could get things done. But inside I was not doing well, especially the longer this went on. I was feeling overwhelmed, discouraged, and exhausted. Frustration and resentment were building inside, but I didn’t let it show. I just kept right on pushing through, ignoring those feelings all together.
That’s what being overcommitted does. It keeps us in a state of denial.That’s what being overcommitted does. It keeps us in a state of denial. Click To Tweet
There were false beliefs running underneath all that busy-ness:
• I’m responsible for all the things.
• I’m a Christian. It wouldn’t be right to say no.
• I should be able to handle it all.
This was compounded by another lie that I kept repeating to myself over and over.
"I shouldn’t be feeling this way."
My feelings were fighting against the false beliefs, but I ignored them. My emotions were valid though, and they were telling me an honest truth. They were letting me know that I couldn’t handle it all. But sadly, I didn’t know how to listen to them at that time in my life.
Looking back I see some hard truths. I was a people pleaser and I was being overly responsible. There wasn’t one single thing in my life that I felt I could not be doing. I truly felt that doing all the things was the right thing to do. It’s no wonder I was so exhausted all the time.
My busy-ness was a cover-up, but I was in denial about that, too. I had no idea back then that I was running - running away from the things that mattered most. A lack of boundaries and my desire to please everyone was keeping me from important inner work that I needed to do to get unstuck from the things that were holding me back. I was depending on myself instead of leaning into what the Holy Spirit could do inside of me to help me grow.
Sometimes it’s hard to face reality about how we spend our time. But it’s important to stop and evaluate what we are doing. Time is something we can’t get back once it’s gone.
But we have a choice! We can choose to work on our overcommitted lives and step out of the exhaustion and into a better pace of life. It’s hard work, but so worth it!
If you’re feeling exhausted, you are not alone. The first step in getting over being exhausted is to come out of hiding. Admit that there’s a problem and take a look at realities about how you are spending your time. Here’s a way to do that.The first step in getting over being exhausted is to come out of hiding. Click To Tweet
Evaluate your time. Consider tracking your time over a day, week, or even a month. Start recording how you spend all 24 hours. Think of it as a Time Check.
After you complete your Time Check, read through your activities and pay attention to any emotions that surface as you look back over all that activity. It’s easy to dismiss our emotions and feelings, but they give us valuable information so it’s important to consider the information they give us.
Here are some questions to consider:
After you identify your emotions, you have more information to go on as you consider your stress/exhaustion level. Here are some additional questions to consider.
Now, think about the information you have. What is it telling you? Are there changes you need to make?
Take the four lies mentioned in this article. Write a truth that refutes each one!Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts. - Psalm 90:12 HCSB Click To Tweet
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